ABSENT-MINDED drivers are the most common cause of road accidents in Monmouthshire, figures reveal.

Road safety charity Brake has called for a radical overhaul of road safety measures to prevent “needless, preventable” deaths from dangerous driving.

The latest Department for Transport (DfT) statistics show drivers or riders failing to look properly contributed to 31 accidents in Monmouthshire last year.

The figures, which report contributory factors for accidents as recorded by police, also show that 24 accidents were caused by drivers or riders failing to judge another vehicle’s speed.

Officers can choose one or more reasons for any accident where at least one person suffers a slight injury.

These accidents do not have to involve cars and could, for example, include a cyclist falling over or a motorbike colliding with a pedestrian.

Brake’s Samuel Nahk said: “These figures clearly highlight that driver error is one of the main causes of crashes, all too often leading to death and serious injury. Yet every death and injury on our roads is a needless, preventable tragedy.

“We can mitigate the impact of driver error through a safe systems approach with safer roads, safer vehicles, safer speeds and safer road use, enabling people to move around in safe and healthy ways.

“Drivers can also reduce their chances of causing a crash by ensuring they stick well within the speed limit, take more time to look carefully at junctions, and giving the road their full attention at all times.”

Last year, three people were killed on Monmouthshire’s roads, down from six in 2017. But 43 seriously injuries were reported in 2018 – far more than the 26 recorded the previous year.

Overall casualties, which include slight injuries, rose from 148 to 155 over the period.

The DfT discourages comparing trends from previous years, however, because of changes to the way some forces record the severity of road injuries.

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “Every death on our roads is one too many and road safety is an extremely important issue. We continue to work with our partners to achieve the targets set out in the Road Safety Framework for Wales to ensure our roads and streets are safe and accessible for all.”